Gosberton motor racer Abbi seals drive with JHR Developments for F4 British Championship
Two-time British junior karting champion Abbi Pulling (16) is aiming to "prove myself and have fun" in her debut season as a Formula 4 (F4) driver.
The Gosberton teenager has been named by Derbyshire-based team JHR Developments as one of its drivers for the 2020 F4 British Championship which is regarded as "the UK’s premier single-seater series" and a pathway to Formula 1.
Abbi, who became the first driver to win back-to-back Super 1 Junior TKM British Karting Championship in 2018, has spent the past few weeks in testing ahead of the new season which starts at Donington Park on March 28 and 29.
She said: "It was an easy choice to join the ranks of JHR Developments and I’m really excited to drive with them.
"I’ve been getting on well with the team and having a chat with people at the workshop whenever I'm having a break from using the simulator.
"It’s been challenging to learn the car, but we’ve worked hard and done lots of preparation on JHR’s simulator so it’s starting to go well.
"I’m matching the times that my team-mate Carter Williams set last year on the simulator which is good and the JHR Developments team are working relentlessly as always."
Abbi, who took her GCSE exams at Bourne Academy last summer, is combining her F4 ambitions with studies at the Motorsport UK Academy in Loughborough.
The new season is a step up from Abbi's experience driving in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge last year, although she managed two sixth-placed finishes in the final round at Donington Park.
"I’m putting everything into this year and the karting knowledge helps because the driving styles are similar, particularly in the wet," Abbi said.
"It's about being smooth and driving on your fingertips, though the car is a lot more physical than the Ginetta.
"I want to prove to myself that I can succeed at this level because I proved it to myself in karting and I know I can do it in cars too.
"It's just about building on my knowledge to have the speed on track, but I also want to make sure I keep having fun as well."
Andy Pulling, Abbi's dad, said: "This is a big step forward for Abbi and it’s amazing to see her in a British F4 car.
"It's the culmination of eight years of hard work and with the whole series running alongside the British Touring Car Championship, as well as being televised on ITV4, it is the perfect place to showcase Abbi’s talent and hopefully attract backers to push her career to even higher levels.
"As a dad, I couldn't be prouder."
Steven Hunter, JHR's team manager, said: "We are very happy to have Abbi driving with us this year.
"She was very impressive during the Scholarship Assessment Day at Silverstone in difficult conditions last year and has continued to show her speed during winter testing, as well as on our simulator.
"JHR Developments has a proud history of working with talented young drivers as they launch their careers and Abbi is no exception to this.
"She has proven ability in karting and we are looking forward to helping her achieve the very best she can in single-seater cars."
Lorraine Gathercole, chairman of the British Women's Racing Drivers Club, said: "I had the pleasure of seeing Abbi testing her F4 car at Silverstone on Monday.
"She went really well and showed herself immediately to be on the pace of the front runners, despite them having had far more time in the car.
"Abbi looked comfortable with her team and surroundings and I am sure she will go very well indeed.
"She also took the opportunity to do some media work which is crucial to help her climb the motorsport ladder to success."